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Snow alert issued after storm hits UAE

A snow alert has been issued in the United Arab Emirates where a rare storm and high winds toppled one of thousands of cranes in the Gulf desert on Friday.

One person was injured and three cars were destroyed in a fire sparked by the collapse of the crane on Dubai’s main thoroughfare, the multi-lane Sheikh Zayed Road, local officials said. The storm led to the cancellation of a stage in the Tour of Dubai on Friday because of the strong winds posing a danger to the cyclists, organisers said.

The tour’s 170-kilometre penultimate stage, from Dubai to Hatta near the Omani border, would have left riders exposed to blustery winds. Saturday’s stage was to go ahead as planned. Apart from rough seas and winds of between 75 and 80 kilometres an hour across the UAE, there was rare snowfall on Jebel Jais, a mountain in Ras al-Khaimah emirate.

The MET office said there was a depth of 10 centimetres (four inches) of snow in some places on the less than 2,000-metre (6,500-foot) mountain. The mercury fell to minus two degrees Celsius, with the light snow serving as a magnet for hundreds of Emiratis snapping pictures with smart phones to post on social media sites.

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